by Christos Dodis, Konstantinos Kitis, Demetrios Panagiotakopoulos

This paper is concerned with the organization and the operational viability of Solid Waste Management Authorities (SWMA). The frequently changing performance requirements, the continuous search for alternative technological, financial and institutional options, the unstable market of recyclables, the variations in waste characteristics, and the need for public-private partnerships are only some of the factors that shape and drastically affect the operating environment of a SWMA. Consequently, for any such Authority (be it a small
municipal department or a huge organization serving a megapolis), there is an emerging need for:

  • adaptation to such variations
  • organizational cohesion.

Both adaptability and cohesion are prerequisites for the organization’s effectiveness and viability (ability to maintain distinct existence in the long term).

Here, an attempt is made to express SWMA as VSM; a case study is presented for a medium size SWMA (city of Larissa, Greece). The objective is to develop a tool (a procedure)
enabling the personnel of a SWMA, either pubic or private, cast their organization as a VSM. A questionnaire was designed as a guide for a preliminary diagnosis of SWMA; full
diagnosis would certainly require, besides the questionnaire, personal interviews and on site investigations.

The response to the questionnaire allowed a VSM-based modelling of the Authority under study. Specific departments or functions of the Authority are correlated to VSM’s Systems
1 through 5. The employment of the VSM revealed the lack of distinct information channels within the SWMA, which may prove crucial for its viability. These deficiencies might not
have been exposed with the use of traditional organization charts, which normally focus solely on the power and command relationships within the authority.

<case study>

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Tags: Case study, cybernetics, Environment, management, VSM, Waste management

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